What Time of Day do Burglaries Occur?

Most people assume that the majority of burglaries occur during nighttime hours. However, statistics have actually shown that a larger percentage of burglaries occur during the daytime. ** This is because many burglaries are crimes of opportunity, and daylight hours are when most people are out for various activities. For example, if a homeowner accidentally leaves their garage door unlocked after driving to the store for an errand, a burglar may see the unlocked door, and take that opportunity to steal items from the garage.

Crimes of Opportunity

It may seem like common sense, but it’s essential that you never leave evidence of expensive items outside of your home. For example, dispose of large cardboard boxes for big-screen TV’s, entertainment systems and sports equipment discreetly. It’s usually best to cut the boxes into smaller pieces, and dispose of them in a black trash bag. If possible, avoid getting expensive items shipped directly to your house during the daylight hours. You can either pick up the items yourself, or arrange to have them delivered during odd hours of the day or night. This may seem like overkill, but it can go a long way in helping to prevent your home from being burglarized.

Classification of Burglaries by Law

Did you know that in many jurisdictions in the United States, burglaries that occur during the night hours are prosecuted more severely than burglaries that occur during the day? In California, there used to be a law that classified the punishment for daytime burglary to be “burglary in the second degree”, while a burglary that occurred during the night was classified as “burglary in the first degree”. Though this law has now been refined, many states still follow the different classifications for daytime and nighttime burglary. In these states, a “night” burglary occurs anywhere from 30 minutes after the sun sets, while a “day” burglary occurs anywhere from 30 minutes before sunrise.

Daytime Security

Many people don’t pay as much attention to their home’s security during the daylight hours. This is because people tend to feel “safer” when not surrounded by darkness. However, in relation to burglary statistics, this could be extremely unwise. Here are a few tips to help you to improve the security of your home during the day:

  • Always lock your doors when you leave the house, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  • Never assume that your garage will be safe while unlocked, even if you’re currently at home.
  • Store all important valuables in a hidden wall or floor safe.
  • While at home, keep the deadbolt on your door securely locked.
  • If you run errands during the day, double-check your door and window locks before you leave.
  • If your children are going to be home alone, be sure that they know never to open the door to a stranger.
  • Adopting and training a guard dog can be a great way to increase the security of your home.

**Author’s Note: There have been dozens of studies that have analyzed the specific time of day when burglaries occur. In some cases, these studies contradict each other. However, it seems that most sources have confirmed that daytime burglaries are more common.